PORTLAND, ME – January 17, 2024 – The Maine Mariners brought back a familiar face to the roster on Wednesday, as they signed defenseman Zach Malatesta to a contract. The New England born blue-liner hasn’t played since the 2021-22 season, when he finished as the Mariners’ third leading scorer.
A 27-year-old defenseman from Wilmington, MA, Malatesta originally came to the Mariners in December of 2021, acquired in a trade from the Indy Fuel. He proceeded to have a career year with the Mariners, posting 37 points (seven goals, 30 assists) in 42 games, and also adding six points in six playoff contests. His 43 points total for the 2021-22 campaign ranked him behind only Mathew Santos and Nick Master on the Mariners scoring leaderboard, and 10th among all ECHL defenseman.
Malatesta made his professional debut in the 2017-18 season for the Atlanta Gladiators, where he’d play three seasons, before joining the South Carolina Stingrays in 2020-21 and appearing in the Kelly Cup finals. He began the 2021-22 season with Worcester. Malatesta has also played five career American Hockey League games – four with the Hersey Bears and one with the Providence Bruins, on loan from the Mariners.
Prior to his pro career, Malatesta played three seasons in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, for the Moncton Wildcats and the Acadie-Bathurst Titan.
On Tuesday, defenseman Darien Kielb departed the Mariners to pursue a career in Europe.
The Mariners are home all weekend long against the Reading Royals. It’s a $3 Deweys “Threekend” starting on Friday with “Country Night” presented by UNUM, featuring Canadian Tuxedo specialty uniforms and a denim can koozie giveaway to the first 1,000 fans. Game time is 7:15 PM. Saturday’s game is “Star Wars Night” at 6 PM, and the Threekend concludes on Sunday afternoon with “Comedy Day” at 3 PM.
Single game tickets for all regular season home games are on sale at MarinersOfMaine.com or at the Ware-Butler Box Office inside the Cross Insurance Arena. More information on ticket packages and group discounts can be found by calling 833-GO-MAINE or visiting the Mariners front office at 94 Free St. in Portland. The 2023-2024 season is presented by Hannaford to Go